Given the research rules set out in HoH:TL I was considering what it might take to make a breakthrough to reduce the casting level of a particular Technique and Form. For instance, reducing all spells in CrIg by one magnitude. I would assume this would be a hermetic breakthrough. The question then lies in if you can streamline one Tech/Form, would the next one be a lesser difficulty of breakthrough? Also, what kind of impact would it have on the order as a whole if one area of magic became easier?
Given the research guidelines, it'd be a major breakthrough at the very least. However, it's something you'll have to discuss with your troupe, as it's almost entirely subjective what can and cannot be researched.
IMS I'd say that its not allowed, as it seems too far beyond a breakthrough to reduce all spells for CrIg. It could be facilitated for the player by granting them some sort of focus, or affinity, or mod. There might be more than one way to express a benefit from all a character's research than reducing all of CrIg by x1 mag.
Out of Game - It is not so much that I'd be worried about one magus being more powerful, its the idea that every magus could now learn how to use CrIg in that manner after the discovery is shared.
I might even say it´s even more, it´s such an extremely massive change. In a modern expression, you might say you´re trying to break the law of conservation of energy by getting more out than you put in.
Not telling you "dont do it", but rather be careful if you do it as this is one kind of change that can easily cause issues of all sorts. Just one example would be that if all player magi are specialists in different areas, then this kind of change suddenly makes one specialist get the equal of a free +5 bonus to all casting and lab totals for this area.
The only Hermetic Breakthrough in the Order's canonical history is the development of the Parma Magica, which certainly had larger effects than simplifying CrIG effects would. I wouldn't have a problem with this one.
On the other hand, if Hermetic Breakthroughs are possible with anything less than a lifetime's work for a specialist covenant of magi, then maybe something's out of whack.
This is very good advice. As for the lab totals, -5 to the target is even more powerful than +5 to the lab total. The +5 Direwolf75 mentions is the smallest effective bonus you get. For example, if you have a lab total of 20 and want to make a level 15 spell, the spell is now level 10, which would have required a +10 to the lab total. On top of this you'll average some Vis savings when investing effects. Similarly, note that Direwolf75's mention of +5 to casting totals comes after all divisions by 2 or 5 for spontaneous magic, assuming a level 10+ spell, so sometimes it can be like getting +25 to the sum of the Technique and Form. I'm not disagreeing with Direwolf75; rather, I'm agreeing emphatically because he's pointing out how scary the typical minimum benefit would be, let alone larger potential benefits.
I can see your point as this would create a huge game mechanics and balancing problem. Perhaps a major version of Puissant (Art) would be more reasonable offering a +5. This would, in effect, give the caster an extra magnitude, but eliminate the overarching effects that you mention as well as leave room for a second breakthrough to integrate it. This would probably be a major breakthrough. On the same note, would integrating the minor virtues Puissant (Art) and Affinity with (Art) be a major or minor breakthrough? Also would the researcher in question, who say, was born with one of these virtues, need to first perform a breakthrough to teach someone without it how learn the virtue themselves. this in effect would require having 2 breakthroughs even though he already posses the virtue. My gut instinct says yes, otherwise there would be more magi infiltrating and integrating mysteries.
Yeah, it looks like a "not so big deal", but once you start looking at it like you spelled out more completely, it sudddenly looks quite BIG.
Yup, works excellently. We´ve used "Masterful with x" as the Major version of Puissant. Tried bonuses from +5 to +10(the latter when Puissant was at +4 for Arts), generally i´ve found it suitable to have the Major version to be double the bonus of the Minor. +5 will work nicely if you dont want to risk ending up with overpowered characters in case you´re running a mid or low-power game. In a high powered game, players will more likely pick 2 Affinities and 1 Puissant instead though as it will give a more noticeable effect(with 1 each in a Tech that gives a total bonus higher than the more costly Major version if it´s at +5, add to that placing the second Affinity in the Form the character is most likely to prefer together with the favored Tech and the total bonus is considerably more powerful(and depending on the game you´re in this can either be something to promote or oppose)).
Probably Major. And will have to be done once per each virtue and each Art, so 30 breakthroughs to get them all.
Of course, the total effect of that is pretty much on the level of YIKES!, so probably needs to be hard or it would already have happened.
Making Puissaint Ignam a teachable virtue is a major breakthrough. Something better would probably be harder than that.
Have you considered Minor Potent Magic potentially followed by an upgrade to Major Potent Magic?
Good catch - this one does much what is asked for.
[Facepalm] I had completely forgotten about potent magic. Thanks for pointing that out. I think that would be the best solution for the research I had in mind as it effectively does everything I was considering without altering the game mechanics.